In its broadest sense, the Journal of Maps (JoM) is concerned with social and physical processes that take place on a geographical scale. Topics could include, for example, footfall in retail marketing, the spread of bird flu or location of geological faults, the common theme being the use of maps or spatial diagrams to advance understanding.
The JoM has its origins back in the geological and geographical journals of the late-1800's and early 1900's. The investigative research during this period was based strongly around fieldwork and the observation of phenomena. After observation, interpretation could be applied and then, traditionally, presented at a lecture meeting. The "proceedings" of these lectures were then published, often with extra plates of photographs and maps of the original fieldwork. As a result of the these early pioneers, we now have a permanent record of this work which can constantly be referred back to. This is important as we not only have the interpretive conclusions, but also the original data upon which the work was based.
Modern publishing now has many constraints placed upon it; not only the plethora of different journal titles, but the use of colour printing, the internet and an array of libraries wishing to reduce the cost of journal subscriptions. All of this means that both colour and "outsize" printing are very expensive for the publisher, so much so that they are now the exception rather than the rule. Although it is quite acceptable that maps are too expensive to publish we are now in a position whereby we publish results and conclusions but often fail to report the data upon which they are based. In an academic world where reproducability and peer review are integral to the research process this situation is untenable. JoM will attempt to help authors to present their mapped data where otherwise it might remain unpublished.
The traditional publishing route remains expensive and therefore electronic publishing is currently the only feasabile method of making mapped data available. However we also believe in freedom of access to published material (although copyright remains a fundamental process to empower the author to retain ownership of their work) and therefore all articles published in JoM will be freely available to all. JoM is a non-profit making group seeking to make available original mapped research to anyone with an interest in those subject areas. In order to maintain the review and distribution processes we charge the author a nominal fee to cover these costs.
Multi-Disciplinary and International
As a discipline, geography has traditionally had a large number of subject areas simply due to the spatial nature of the topic. Maps and mapping science were often incorporated within geography, however spatial data are becoming endemic to many disciplines. JoM is intentionally multi-discplinary and wants to draw upon, and present, work from all subject areas. Not only will this build an increasing archive of mapped data for future researchers to draw upon, but will also help foster inter-disciplinary contact. As well as accepting work from any discipline, we also want to build a reputation as an international journal who present high quality research from all over the world.